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Father Juan de Padilla

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     In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado marched north from
Mexico with 300 Spaniards in search of the "Seven Golden
Cities of Cibola."  With them were several priests, including
Juan de Padilla, a Franciscan friar. When the golden cities
proved to be only adobe pueblos the Spaniards went on to ex-
plore the Southwest and Padilla was among those who dis-
covered the Grand Canyon.  Later he marched with a party
of 30 picked horsemen to the land of Quivira in Kansas.   For
25 days in the summer of 1541 Coronado remained among the
grass-hut villages of the Quiviran Indians, then returned to
New Mexico.   Padilla went with him, but the following year
came back as a missionary.  Here he was later killed by
the Indians, the first Christian martyr in what is now the
United States.   Although the exact place of his death is un-
known there is a monument to Padilla in City Park in
Herington.

Erected by Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission
  Monument to Father Juan de Padilla in Herington, KS park.
Monument in City Park
Dickinson County  
Historical marker on US 77
South of Herington
Dickinson County
  More
Historical
Markers

November 28, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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